2014-11-17 10:02:00

Serbian-Russian friendship is based on spiritual closeness, not amount of gas sold - Serbian president

Belgrade, November 17, Interfax - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic sees support in Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church.

"We are connected by faith and blood. We are now going through difficult times, when Christianity faces big challenges. The Serbian Orthodox Church has a lot of support in the Russian Orthodox Church, and Serbia has a lot of support in the Russian Federation," Nikolic said during a meeting with Russian Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Belgrade.

Nikolic thanked the patriarch for his decision to sacrifice funding for the completion of the work on the mosaic in the Cathedral of St. Sava in Belgrade, adding that "it shows how closely Serbia is connected to Russia."

Nikolic also said friendship should not be measured in terms of trade turnover.

"Russia could look down on Serbia. Russia could just say: we sell you gas worth 100 million and that's our friendship. But Russia and Serbia will never do that," he said.

"We, Slavs, sometimes fail to find a common language, and sometimes it seems to us that we have better friends somewhere on the side. However, as we say, travel, but always return home. Russia and Serbia always return to each other, and that's due to our Churches," Nikolic said.

Nikolic said Russia has suffered for Serbia.

"Our people need to be told that from time to time because the Russian tsar risked all his state and all his people, he joined in WWI, and then evil people used that moment to fully destroy the Romanov family," Nikolic said the Serbs, like the Russians, fought against fascists in WWII, "but Serbia did not have the weapons that the Red Army had."

"So whenever we don't have something or we don't have enough of something, we will turn to Russia, and we will not be ashamed because we believe we are asking our relatives and in the family everyone should help each other," the Serbian president said.